Dakota Datebook

Judge David Morgan

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Born on this day in 1849, David Morgan was raised and educated in Wisconsin. After reading law with several judges, Morgan set out for Dakota Territory in 1881 to set up his own law practice. Over his thirty year career, he served as both Judge of the 2nd Judicial District and Justice of the Supreme Court before retiring in 1911.

While serving on the District Court Bench, Judge Morgan presided over two of the state’s most infamous murder trials.

In North Dakota’s first recorded serial murder, Albert Bomberger killed six members of one family after the eldest daughter rejected his affections. Following Bomberger’s capture in November of 1893, Judge Morgan sentenced him to death by hanging.

Seven years later, Judge Morgan sentenced Hans Thorpe to death by hanging for murdering his wife. It was the first and last official hanging in Ward County.

A Historical Sketch of the Supreme Court of the Dakota Territory and North Dakota Supreme Court http://www.court.state.nd.us/history/sketch/.
Stammen, John M., and Barbara VanderMei, eds. Ward County: Jim Hill to Jets. Minot, ND, 1961.
Vyzralek, Frank. “Capital Crimes and Criminals Executed in Northern Dakota Territory and North Dakota, 1885-1905.” In Bruce M. Van Sickle Inn of Court Bismarck, ND: North Dakota Supreme Court, October 19, 2000.

This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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